I've been in Ohio the past few days, working as a visiting assistant professor at a small, adorable liberal arts college. Since it's one the college's dime, we've done alot of eating out at nice places, but last night, after a large lunch with great students, we were fed up with dining out (ha). You know, restaurant mouth from a little too much salt and too much food.
Since Professor G is a vegetarian, we decided to make vegetarian Indian food, something that I often do on this blog. However, I was lacking my usual set of spices, so we made do with what was available at the local grocery store, mostly spice mixes. Flipping through one of her cookbooks, we choose the veggie biryani, lentils, and a raita recipe. I also saw pretty sprouts (which are woefully out of season but still called my name). I haven't been in a huge grocery store like that since I visited my parents over Christmas.
I also learned that small town video rental stores on a Friday night can be as slow as Brooklyn.
Veggie biryani (adapted from Girl Can't Cook)
1 1/2 c. of basmati rice
4 tables of biryani spices (found in the glass jar in the "ethnic aisle" of a larger grocery store)
1 onion, diced
garlic and ginger, diced
1/2 c. of raisins
1/3 c. of slivered almonds
1 yellow squash, cut into thin coins and sliced in half again (they should look like half-moons)
2 carrots, also cut into 1/2 moons or 1 red pepper, cored and sliced
1/2 head of broccoli chopped
Juice of one lemon
3 c. Water
Cook the onions in the ghee/oil until soft, over medium heat. Add the spices and stir, another 2 or 3 minutes. Add the rice and stir until the kernels are well coated. Add the vegetables and water, and stir over high heat until it reaches a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, and cover for 30-40 minutes or until the rice is cooked and the liquid gone.
Raita (also adapted from Girl Can't Cook)
1 1/4 c. of plain yogurt
1/2 teas salt (or to taste)
1/2 teas of cumin
1 tomato, chopped
1/2 English cucumber, cored and grated
2 Tbs of cilantro
You can skip this step if you don't mind a water Raita (I don't), but if you do, combine the cucumbers, tomatoes and salt in a colander and let the excess water strain out (maybe like 10 minutes). Add the tomato/cumber mixture to a medium sized bowl with the yogurt, cilantro, cumin, and lemon juice. Add more salt to taste.
Roasted brussels sprouts with garlic
3 cloves of garlic chopped
about 20 Brussels sprouts, with the ends trimmed off, cut in 1/2
Preheat the oven to 400. Add the chopped garlic and sprouts in a shallow baking dish, with the cut sides down. Drizzle with oil oil (about 1 1/2 Tbs) and bake for 25-30 minutes, until the tops and bottoms of carmelized (we overcooked ours just a bit but they tasted delicious). Add salt to taste when done.
Quick and easy dal (that I always make and force Blokey to eat)
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlice
1/2" of ginger root, grated (we didn't have that, rural Ohio seems to be missing this ingredient)
2 tomatoes chopped (or 1/2 of a tetra pack of chopped tomatoes)
1/4 c. of plain yogurt
1 1/2 T. of Madras curry spices (in a glass jar from the supermarket)
1/2 teas. red pepper (spice, not the bell variety)
1 c. of dry lentils.
While the rice is cooking, bring 4 c. of water to a boil. Add the 1 c. of lentils and bring to a boil again, and then lower heat to a simmer and cover. They should be done in about 20 minutes. In a medium sauce pan, saute the onions in oil over medium heat for about 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and stir, another 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook until they begin to break down into a mush. Add about 1 1/2 Tbsp of the curry spices and stir. Remove from the heat until the lentils are done. Drain, and add to the tomato-spice mix. Cook again over medium heat until the spices and lentils are well incorporated. Add lemon juice, red pepper, and yogurt and stir.
The pictures aren't as appetizing as the food. As G said, it was a bit monochromatic, but the taste was anything but boring. We all ate too much and had to hold our bellies as we watched "Funny People."